Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Another fairytale? Obama, there was no Selective Service registration requirement in 1979

Elections, Obama 2008, Truth

On Sunday, Sept. 7, Barack Obama told ABC news: (My emphasis throughout)

"I had to sign up for selective service when I graduated from High School," he explained. "I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and you know, honorable option."

"Obama suggested his decision not to enlist was an issue of timing, not service. "I graduated in 1979.  The Vietnam War had come to an end.  We weren’t engaged in an active military conflict at that point.  And so, it’s not an option that I ever decided to pursue," he said.

I did not think much about the registering part. As a mother of a 19 year old son, I know every male must do that even today. I also remember being in college in 1969 and receiving a notice from the Selective Service that I must register my credits with the draft board to receive an exemption from the draft. (Another reason never to name your daughter with a gender neutral name!) 

But tonight, while listening to the Mark Levin Show, some callers brought up the point that mandatory registration was NOT in effect in 1979!

I Googled it and sure enough, on Wikipedia I found this about Conscription in the US:

"During the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon campaigned on a promise to end the draft... ...With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who reported for duty in June 1973.[35]
Mandatory registration with the Selective Service came to an end until, 
"Post 1980 Draft Registration:
"In 1980, Congress re-instated the requirement that young men register with the Selective Service System. At that time it was required that all males, born on or after January 1, 1960 register with the Selective Service System. Currently, male U.S. citizens and many male aliens living in the U.S., if age 18 through 25, are required to register with the Selective Service System on their 18th birthday.
Hmm, when was Barack Obama born? Wikipedia to the rescue: 
"Barack Hussein Obama II (pronounced /bəˈrɑːk hʊˈseɪn oʊˈbɑːmə/; born August 4, 1961

So that means in 1979, Barack graduated as a 17 year old, not turning 18 until August 4, 1979. (That makes sense, I was born in October 1951 and graduated as a 17 year old in 1969.)

But the new law requiring registration with the Selective Service did not take effect until the following year, 1980!

And even then, not until,

"July 2, 1980, [when] President Jimmy Carter signed Proclamation 4771, Registration Under the Military Selective Service Act, retroactively re-establishing the Selective Service registration requirement for all 18-26 year old male citizens born on or after January 1, 1960"

So Obama was, um, miss-speaking when he said he had to register with the Selective Service when he graduated from high school in 1979?

If there was no mandatory registration that year*, why did he say that?

I cannot say, but it appears the UK Telegraph hit the nail on the head when they observed,

"The Illinois senator's newly-disclosed military ambition came after the choice of Sarah Palin as the running mate of his opponent John McCain ensured that for the first time in modern history three of the four candidates on the two presidential tickets would have a son that had served or would serve in a war zone.

These days, because of the internet and constant news media coverage, it is more difficult to tell tales. You would think candidates would know that. To quote Obama, when he was talking about Palin on earmarks,

"Come on! I mean, words mean something, you can't just make stuff up."

I think we expect that to work both ways, Senator.  


*One remote possibility was that he had to register the following year in 1980, but he did seem to make a point of saying "when I graduated from High School"..."in 1979"

PS I have not forgotten about the bridge to nowhere. No doubt Charles Gibson will ask that question at the end of the week. Then maybe we will know more. I am also gathering articles on the subject.

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, Mark Levin,  Vicki Mckenna



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